UN agriculture chief lauds ‘key’ role of family farmers in food-secure future

Family poultry production is an important component of the livelihoods of many small farmers in developing countries. Photo: FAO/Giuseppe Bizzarri

27 October 2014 – Praising family farmers for their key role in meeting the needs of a growing world population, the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) stressed the need to seize global momentum to improve the widespread food insecurity still haunting many rural areas around the world.

Speaking today at the opening of a two-day Global Dialogue on Family Farming in Rome, Director-General José Graziano da Silva said that family farmers are “central to what FAO does, to what the world wants and to what the world needs: a sustainable and food secure future.”

Addressing the paradox facing family farmers worldwide, Mr. Graziano da Silva underscored that the rural areas susceptible to food insecurity are the same areas that serve as the breadbaskets for their communities and the world at large.

The Director-General stressed that governments, farmers’ organizations and the private sector must galvanize concrete action to look beyond production and acknowledge family farms as transmitters of knowledge and central allies in providing healthier diets, including through strong local food systems that link farms to schools and communities.

Mr. Graziano da Silva also noted the attention that family farming is receiving in the post-2015 development agenda, adding that “perhaps the greatest success of the International Year is the strong political commitment we achieved.” He said that the success could be seen in the attention that family farming was receiving in the post-2015 development agenda.

The Global Dialogue brings together family farmers and their organizations, government representatives, civil society, private sector, academia and development agencies to take stock of progress thus far and identify key areas of work and international collaboration related to family farming beyond 2014.

Also in attendance at the opening were Sándor Fazekas, Minister of Agriculture of Hungary; Carlos Casamiquela, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fishery of Argentina; Nicos Kouyialis, Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment of Cyprus; Amadou Diallo, Minister and High Commissioner of the 3N Initiative of Niger; and Ana María Baiardi, Minister for Woman of Paraguay.

The Global Dialogue on Family Farming comes two weeks after governments agreed on a 60-point Framework of Action on Nutrition that is expected to be adopted at the upcoming Second International Conference on Nutrition, which will be held in Rome from 19-21 November.

The closing of the International Year of Family Farming is scheduled to take place on 27 November in the Philippines.

News Tracker: past stories on this issue

On World Food Day, UN lauds role of family farmers in ending global hunger

Related Stories

In-depth Interviews